The original Torchlight was a shining beacon in a sea of samey dungeon crawlers for those looking for a suitable Diablo replacement. It provided an alternative to the deeper, darker recesses of Blizzard's triumphant cult classic while still serving up the same addictive looting and monster-crushing goodness we quickly became used to with the various dungeons and catacombs of yesteryear.
But now it's 2012, and Diablo III has actually seen the light of day -- it's a real thing, other than the vaporware we were beginning to think of it -- there's fierce competition to deal with in the form of Torchlight II, the excellent follow-up to Runic Games' fantastic loot-collecting simulator. It's packing oodles of content, goodies, and an addictive campaign to top it all off. It acts as the perfect complement to Diablo III's missteps and more brooding nature, what with Torchlight's rich, colorful world and multitude of much cheerier mission objectives. If you need a dungeon crawler and have already rendezvoused with Diablo III, you owe it to yourself to pick up this impressive budget-priced feat of a game.
It's not flawless, but it makes great strides toward becoming the perfect go-to clickfest hungry fans have been clamoring for. Perhaps its first great contribution to this fact is Runic Games' decision to expand exploration from the darker catacombs to the entirely bright, colorful, and lively universe and overworld. You'll explore multiple types of terrain rather than one large interconnecting dungeon with seemingly neverending floors. Shifting terrain allows for varied (and even believable) enemy types, which only serves to bolster the game's appeal. There's a plethora of enemies to challenge each with their own individual movements, animations, and attack patterns. Enormous roaches, rats, bugs, you name it -- there's a different creepy-crawly for all types of fears players bring to the game. It's delightfully busy and there's plenty of baddies to dispatch, which only amplifies the already raucous experience further.